Ph.D. Program

The graduate program in Pharmaceutical Sciences spans the entire life cycle of a drug, from bench to bedside. The Medicinal Chemistry concentration focuses on drug discovery and development, part of the pre-clinical studies phase of the cycle.

Pharmaceutical Sciences Ph.D. Programs

Distinction through five interrelated training opportunities involving the entire life cycle of a drug.

A diagram that shows the five Ph.D. options available in the UF College of Pharmacy and their areas of specialties

Medicinal Chemistry Core Curriculum

As part of the requirements for the Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences – Medicinal Chemistry – students must complete the departmental core curriculum listed below. The required courses are offered by the Medicinal Chemistry, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmacology departments. Courses in other departments may be recommended or required by some faculty advisors. A minimum of 90 credit hours (research and didactic courses) are needed to graduate. Students will normally complete their didactic course work by the end of their second year in the program.

Policies and Procedures Manual

Learn more about the policies and procedures related to graduate education in medicinal chemistry. Please note the GRE is no longer required for admission to the UF College of Pharmacy’s graduate programs. GRE scores will not be considered in admission decisions.

Funding Opportunities

Learn more about funding opportunities through UF, the College of Pharmacy and other organizations.

Departmental Core Curriculum

The required courses are listed below. The remainder of the 90 credit hours are to be settled on by the student and his/her supervisor.  A minimum of six 3-credit courses are expected. IF STUDENTS TAKE COURSES AT 4000 LEVEL OR BELOW, THESE WILL NOT COUNT TOWARDS THE CREDITS NEEDED FOR THE Ph.D. DEGREE. Also, courses in the Pharm. D. curriculum do not count towards the departmental core course requirements. Incoming students with a Master’s degree may be able to transfer or have recognized up to 9 credits from previous graduate level didactic courses, upon approval by the graduate faculty in Medicinal Chemistry. All students must have their course selection approved in writing by their major advisor (or the graduate coordinator in the first semester), using the course registration form.

Advanced courses in Medicinal Chemistry

Students must take the following two courses, which are taught by all departmental faculty.

  • PHA 6447, 3 credits, Drug Design I (3 credits in the fall)
  • PHA 6467C. Drug Design II ( 3 Credits in the spring)
  • PHA 6934, 1 credit, Seminar in Medicinal Chemistry

The seminar must be attended by all students during the time they are in the department, and they must make presentations as requested. In their final year, students will be required to present their thesis research at a departmental

Students must take at least two of the following 10 didactic courses, which are offered by department faculty.

  • PHA 6425, 3 credits, Drug Biotransformation and Molecular Mechanisms of Toxicity
  • PHA 6356, 3 credits, Structure Determination of Complex Natural Products
  • PHA/CHM 6435, 3 credits, Biosynthetic Logic of Medicinal Natural Products
  • PHA 6472, 3 credits, Organic Synthesis of Drug Molecules
  • PHA 6935. Advanced Central Nervous System Drug Design (3 credits)
  • PHA 6935. Biotransformation Considerations in Drug Design (2 credits)
  • PHA 6935. Molecular Imaging (1 credit)
  • PHA 6935. New Approaches in Drug Discovery (1 credit)
  • PHA 6935, variable credits (1-3), Selected Topics in Medicinal Chemistry
  • PHA 6935. AI for Drug Discovery (3 credits)

Other course numbers listed in the graduate catalog are for reading courses, (PHA 6936) which may be offered as needed from time to time by any faculty, and for laboratory research projects (PHA 6905L, 6910 up to 5 credits) or thesis and dissertation research (PHA 6971, Research for Master’s Thesis; PHA 7979, Advanced Research; PHA 7980, Doctoral Research).  The course PHA 6905C, Research Procedures in Medicinal Chemistry, normally takes the form of a literature review in a specialized area of medicinal chemistry, combined with related laboratory research. This course requires a written exam or paper and may be taken for a letter grade of 1 to 4 credits per semester, up to a maximum of 12 credits.  PHA 6905C may not be taken while a student is on probation (see page 15).


The student needs to take a spectroscopy course, either CHM 5235 offered each Autumn or PHA 6356 offered every other year; in addition, the student may take the following courses:

  • CHM 5224, 3 credits, Basic Principles of Organic Chemistry
  • CHM 5235 3 credits, Organic Spectroscopy
  • CHM 6225, 4 credits, Advanced Principles of Organic Chemistry
  • CHM 6226, 3 credits, Advanced Synthetic Organic Chemistry


Students with no previous upper-level coursework in Biochemistry must take one or more of the following courses.

  • BCH  4024,  4  credits,  Introduction  to  Biochemistry and  Molecular Biology
    • Note–this course will not count towards the Ph.D., but may be needed to correct deficits in undergraduate education.
  • BCH 5413, 3 credits, Eukaryotic Molecular Biology and Genetics
  • BCH 6206, 3 credits, Advanced Metabolism
  • BCH 6415, 3 credits, Advanced Molecular and Cell Biology
  • BCH 6740, 3 credits, Advanced Physical Biochemistry


Students with no previous upper-level coursework in Pharmacology have the option to take one course in Pharmacology (GMS 6009, Principles of Drug Action is an example), since an understanding of basic pharmacological principles is fundamental to modern Medicinal Chemistry. Several courses are available.

Other appropriate courses may be offered by the Chemistry Department, Pharmaceutics Department, Biochemistry Department, Statistics Department or other departments according to the program of the individual student.

It is also recommended that students take an advanced statistics course such as STA 6116 and a course on responsible conduct of biomedical research, such as BMS 7003 (1 credit).

Interdisciplinary Toxicology Program

The Department of Medicinal Chemistry also participates in the University-wide Interdisciplinary graduate program in Toxicology.  Students wishing to specialize in Medicinal Chemistry with a concentration in Toxicology must, in addition to departmental requirements, take the following Toxicology courses:

  • VME 6602, 3 credits, General Toxicology
  • VME 6603, 3 credits, Advanced Toxicology

And one of the following three electives:

  • GMS 7593, 2 credits, Functional Genomic Applications in Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • VME 6606, 3 credits, Aquatic Toxicology and Ecological Risk Assessment
  • VME 6607, 4 credits, Human Health Risk Assessment.

One of the departmental courses taken by toxicology students must be PHA 6425.  Students interested in toxicology must take an advanced Statistics course such as STA 6116.